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De-Icing Without Power or Chemicals

A buildup of ice on an airplane wing can cause catastrophic failure. But preventing that buildup usually requires energy-intensive heating systems or chemical sprays that are environmentally harmful. A new system, based on a three-layered material, collects solar radiation, converts it to heat, and spreads that heat around so that the melting is not just confined to the areas exposed directly to the sunlight.

Once applied, it requires no further action or power source. It can even do its de-icing work at night using artificial lighting. The three layers, all made of inexpensive commercially available material, are bonded together, and then bonded to the surface that needs to be protected.

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Posted in: News, Defense
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NASA and Alaska Airlines Test Fuel-Saving Software

The Traffic Aware Strategic Aircrew Requests (TASAR) project, a partnership between NASA and Alaska Airlines, is testing NASA’s Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) software that merges and evaluates an unprecedented combination of real-time flight data to provide pilots with optimized flight path options.

Route optimization through TASAR offers a number of benefits, such as saving fuel and flight time, and helping pilots make better, more informed route requests to air traffic controllers. On five of its first six flights with Alaska Airlines, TAP software made reroute recommendations that reduced flight time or saved fuel, and more often than not, both.

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Posted in: News, Defense
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Recycled Water Bottles Could Help Avoid Military Supply Snags

Soldiers on the battlefield or at remote bases often have to wait weeks for vital replacement parts. Now scientists report they have found a way to fabricate many of these parts within hours under combat conditions using water bottles, cardboard and other recyclable materials found on base as starting materials for 3D printing. They say this ‘game-changing’ advance could improve operational readiness, reduce dependence on outside supply chains, and enhance safety.

“Ideally, soldiers wouldn’t have to wait for the next supply truck to receive vital equipment,” Nicole Zander, Ph.D., says. “Instead, they could basically go into the cafeteria, gather discarded water bottles, milk jugs, cardboard boxes and other recyclable items, then use those materials as feedstocks for 3D printers to make tools, parts and other gadgets.”

Posted in: News, Defense, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Materials, Plastics
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Army to Purchase Additional Soldier Borne Sensor Systems

For soldiers in combat, situational awareness – knowing where the enemy is and where friendly forces are – is critical.

To help soldiers maintain situational awareness, the U.S. Army submitted a draft Request for Proposal for Soldier Borne Sensors, which will have two components – an unmanned aerial vehicle and a ground control station. With a camera in the air vehicle, soldiers will be able to see further and around obstacles that they previously wouldn't be able to see in near-real-time.

Posted in: News, Defense, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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New Computer Chips Could Improve Nuclear Detection Capability

A cross-disciplinary team of chemists and physicists from Washington University in St. Louis is building a better computer chip to improve detection and surveillance for the illegal transport of nuclear materials at U.S. borders. The work is part of a new, five-year, $10 million collaboration in low-energy nuclear science led by Texas A&M University. Under the new program, called CENTAUR, Robert J. Charity, research professor of chemistry, and Lee G. Sobotka, professor of chemistry and of physics, both in Arts & Sciences, are testing a novel neutron detection strategy and a related chip. The chip is being developed with long-time collaborator George Engel, a professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Roughly two dozen scientists across all partner universities will be involved in CENTAUR, along with their affiliated research groups. One of the center’s major contributions will be research and development expertise related to neutron detectors, which are relevant for both basic low-energy nuclear science and nuclear security applications.

Posted in: News, Defense, Detectors, Sensors
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Augmented Reality Simplifies Aircraft Inspection

The Air Force Research Laboratory is using augmented reality to simplify and expedite nondestructive inspection of aircraft. This approach eliminates the need to scan several displays and/or hard copies in parallel. In this way, inspectors can increase their focus on the process at hand.

Posted in: INSIDER, News, Defense
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New Products: September 2018 Aerospace & Defense Technology

Pin Fin Heat Sinks

Advanced Thermal Solutions, Inc. (ATS) (Norwood, MA) has a family of Pin Fin heat sinks designed as cost-effective solutions for systems with adequate airflow. The high aspect ratio design enables ATS Pin Fin heat sinks to provide low thermal resistance from base to fins in systems where the airflow measures 200-plus LFM (linear feet per minute). The cross-cut design also allows the Pin Fin heat sinks to be effective in systems where airflow is ambiguous.

Posted in: Products, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Thermal Management, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors, Software, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement
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Enhanced SATCOMs for Unmanned Aerial Systems

Satellites launched with the purpose of relaying communications have been enabling around-the-globe transmissions of information for half a century. And in this current era of hybrid warfare, that means this decades-old hardware needs to be able to manage the command and control of unmanned aircraft.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, RF & Microwave Electronics, Software
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The Bus Too Tough to Die

The venerable MIL-STD-1553B bus has survived remarkably well even as other more advanced solutions gained wide acceptance in the last few years. However, the fact remains that its maximum data rate of 1 Mb/s is orders of magnitude too slow for today’s data-intensive systems, so logic dictates that it will soon fade away. That may be a logical assumption, but it’s likely to prove wrong, for several reasons.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Government, Data Acquisition
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Combating Infrared Threats on the Battlefield

There have been several news headlines lately about offenders pointing commercial lasers at helicopters or police personnel, temporarily blinding and distracting them. An increasing number of “laser assault” incidents have led to tougher penalties with fines and jail time in various countries. The lasers typically used in these attacks operate in the visible light spectrum; therefore, these lasers can be blocked by special absorbing optical dyes contained in special laser defense eyewear.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Sensors
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